1st Life Guards (Nappy Cavalry Project Set #18)

My list of Nappy Cavalry Project regiments grows ever longer! In my recent post, I bemoaned my disaster with varnishing the figures. Essentially, what happened was that I was delighted with my horses up until I applied my usually reliable varnish coat. Something has tainted the varnish and the effect was to make my horses too shiny, too dark and to obliterate any shading details. Needless to say, I was a tad unhappy. A coat of fresh varnish has dulled the shine a little but the loss of subtle detail seems terminal.

Oh well, they will have to do. They are pleasing enough, just not quite as good as I felt they would have been…

1st Life Guards (c.1815)

I’ve painted this set before as the Royal Horse Guards, of course and this set by Revell really is a terrific sculpt. The delicacy of the detail makes things tricky for the painter but ultimately rewards the patience needed to tackle it (varnishing horrors notwithstanding).



Mark Adkin’s magnificent “Waterloo Companion” book states that the Life Guards were mounted on “large, black horses with manes brushed to the left to distinguish them from the Blues who brushed them to the right.” The manes appear to be brushed to the right of the horse, which makes them correct for Horse Guards but not ironically for Life Guards as stated on the box!

Anyway; enough pedantry, here are the photos:

Biography: 1st Life Guards [Great Britain]

This prestigious regiment has its origins in March 1660, King Charles II appointed Officers to three Troops of Horse Guards with the express intention that they protect the royal person. They saw action in wars against the Dutch and in the Monmouth Rebellion at the battle of Sedgemoor. In the 18th Century, the Horse Guards served in the Jacobite rebellions and the War of the Austrian Succession.

By 1788, only the 1st and 2nd troops remained in existence and, along with the two troops of Horse Grenadier Guards, were reorganised into two regiments; the 1st and 2nd Regiments of Life Guards. The 1st Life Guards fought in the Peninsular War and were present at the Hundred Days campaign, when they were attached to Wellington’s Household Brigade of heavy cavalry (alongside the Royal Horse Guards, the King’s Dragoon Guards and their sister regiment, the 2nd Life Guards).

The 1st LG got the chance to taste action prior to the battle of Waterloo in the torrential rain of the 17th June, skilfully assisting Wellington’s withdrawal after Quatre Bras. In one incident, they came to the aid of British light cavalry by successfully counter-charging French Lancers. Losses were light and they took to the field the next day with 255 sabres.

On the field of Waterloo, they were positioned with the rest of the brigade to the west of the road to Brussels. At 2:20pm, the 1st Life Guards and King’s Dragoon Guards charged the advancing French cuirassiers numbering some 780 sabres and, after some minutes of intense melee, routed them. Losses were heavy in the battle and their commanding officer Lt.Col. Ferrior was mortally wounded after allegedly leading the regiment in up to 11 charges throughout the battle. Assisting the great victory with such gallantry only added to the fame and honour of the prestigious 1st cavalry regiment of the British Army.

The 1st Life Guards merged with the 2nd Life Guards in 1922 to form a single regiment; the “Life Guards”, a regiment which remains in service even today.

Battle Honours: Dettingen, Peninsula, Waterloo.



6 thoughts on “1st Life Guards (Nappy Cavalry Project Set #18)

  1. Another great painting exercise along with very informative information that is very handy if one was to use these figures on a diorama ,not that I would know anyone that would do that !! .

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You should do it!

    It seems I experienced a few gaffs with these figs. Feeling experimental, I randomly went the wrong way with the colour shade of the coats and had to try to correct it. Next my varnish went a bit glossy and I had a tantrum over the loss of my shading on my black horses. They look OK despite all that I guess. I’ve still got enough left to maybe attempt another regiment “The 2nd Life Guards” at some point, so I’ll hopefully have less dramas (and tears) then.

    For black horses, incidentally, I use a black / dark Prussian blue mix as a base coat and then with no shading whatsoever I just dry-brush a little dark grey. A little different to my usual process but, for me, for black horses it works nicely.


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